Poodles have a good life - "Poodle owners are often passionate about their pets, catering to their every whim, manipulated by their guile and tolerating their sometimes snippy relationships with other dogs. In many cases – and this is not restricted to poodles, of course – it’s hard to tell, after a while, who controls whom. The master routinely finds his days wrapped around catering for the poodle: walking it, grooming it, pandering to it. If the tail often wags the dog, the dog can also wag the human."
British PMs accept that power comes with poodledom - "Most postwar British prime ministers have intuitively
understood this, however strongly their publics have sometimes balked. The
global power of a British premier is nowhere near that of an American
president, but the Brits’ leverage over such power is arguably greater than
any other country’s – precisely because of their treasured, special,
pampered poodle status."
It doesn't have to be an unquestioning relationship - "Recall Thatcher’s horrified response to what she saw as a breach of international law in the seizure of Grenada, a member of the Commonwealth, or her opposition to Reagan’s attack on nuclear deterrence theory at Reykjavik – and compare it with Tony Blair’s take on international law with respect to Iraq. Britain’s leaders – from Thatcher to Blair – do not seem to be moving away from the American orbit, but more firmly into it."
Making Blair an envoy to the Middle East suits everyone - "But what makes this perfect for Blair is the combination of almost certain failure, the patina of altruism and a sense of global self-importance... And that’s why, for all the pitfalls of such an appointment, it’s hard to see why it would be bad for Britain, or bad for Gordon Brown. It gets Blair out of the way and makes Britain seem more important on the world stage. Poodling is a much more powerful tool in global power politics than preening like the French or pouting like the Russians."
Sullivan's definition of poodledom has its appeal. The common jibe that Blair is a poodle for signing up for Iraq out of slavish obedience to Bush is nonsense - he was a liberal interventionist when Bush was still an isolationist.